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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Experiencing The True Presence...

“Our work…calls for us to see Jesus in everyone. He has told us that He is the hungry one. He is the naked one. He is the thirsty one. He is the one without a home. He is the one who is suffering. These are our treasures…they are Jesus. Each one is Jesus in His distressing disguise.”
– Mother Teresa

As we journey towards Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the holy season of Lent, we ponder and ask ourselves the fundamental question, which we often take for granted.  Very simply, who is Jesus Christ for you?

The world’s academicians are unable to tell us if Jesus Christ was God, historians and scientists cannot analyze the way in which Jesus was both Lord and servant or for that matter, how He was both God and man.

Those who knew Jesus personally, especially His disciples, had to ultimately decide to follow Jesus by faith.  Rational thought and human reasoning can never ever fully explain, let alone allow one to meet the Jesus we know and worship.
 Many of us are familiar with the story of Christmas, celebrated a few weeks back, in December last.  Jesus – born of the Virgin Mary, son of Joseph a simple carpenter; grew to become an obedient son, great teacher, healer and miracle worker; the Word of God made flesh.

His wisdom, values and teachings are revolutionary radical in nature (to human minds, impossible and unacceptable, even incomprehensible, his parables!); He mingles with people whom society at large scorned and despise; tax collectors, fishermen, lepers, Samaritans, prostitutes, traitors, adulteress, the blind, the lame, the dumb, the mute, and the poor, amongst many others.
 Jesus is the Son of Man, incarnate Son of God, second person of the Holy Trinity, King, Servant, Savior, Lamb, High Priest, Rabbi, Light, Friend, and Companion – crucified, died, buried and rose from the dead. Jesus Christ is Divine – He is Lord – Creator of the Universe – Emmanuel, God with us.

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30,  Douay Rheims)

The holy name Jesus, in Latin Iesus, in Hebrew-Aramaic, YHWH (Yahweh) meaning “God saves”.  The name Christ is the Greek (Christós), translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah” which means “Anointed One”.

The Gospel of St. Mark portrays Jesus as a wonder worker; the Gospel of St. Matthew portrays Him as the kingly Messiah; whereas St. Luke portrays Him as the friend of sinners and outcasts.  The Gospel of St. John presents a theological representation of Jesus as the divine Logos or Word.

In the tabernacle of every Catholic Church throughout the world, this same infinite, eternal, omnipotent and all-loving God/man is truly physically present, through the Blessed Sacrament, just as He was after the Resurrection.  He is always available to us, earthly pilgrims, on our journey towards the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Catholic Church embraces the doctrine of transubstantiation, meaning that Christ is “truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity,” though under the appearance of bread or wine.  In other words, Catholics believe that at the Holy Mass, bread and wine truly becomes the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, during the Consecration by the priest. 

The consecrated bread, the Eucharist, in the form of wafers known as hosts, becomes what is known as the Blessed Sacrament.

This presence remains even after the Consecration, so that even after Mass is concluded; the Eucharistic elements still remains Christ's Body and Blood.  The tabernacle serves as a secure place in which to store the Blessed Sacrament for carrying to the sick who cannot participate in Mass, or as a focus for the prayers of those who visit the Church.

By virtue of this, we can enter His physical presence and be as close to Him as the Apostles were during His life.  Whereas they saw Him with their eyes, we too can see Him with the eyes of faith.  We need only to simply enter a Catholic Church and we come to experience the presence of our mighty King, Lord of the Universe who lived as a humble village carpenter, suffered, died and rose again for you and me.

“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3, NAB).

So, very simply, quietly and humbly…spend time and invite Jesus into your heart…truly experience His Presence and your journey towards Lent will surely become much more meaningful…and your burdens, light.

To Jesus hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament

I adore You, Lord and Creator,
hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I adore You for all the works of Your hands,
that reveal to me so much wisdom,
goodness and mercy, O Lord.

You have spread so much beauty over the earth
and it tells me about Your beauty,
even though these beautiful things are
but a faint reflection of You,
incomprehensible Beauty.

And although You have hidden Yourself
and concealed your beauty,
my eye, enlightened by faith, reaches You
and my soul recognizes its Creator,
its Highest Good,
and my heart is completely
immersed in prayer of adoration.

- Saint Faustina Kowalska

St. Hilary once said that “grace depends mostly on perseverance in prayer.”  Just remember that God is never “too busy” to hear from you.  Don’t be “too busy” for Him!

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